Leadership Institute graduate uses training to play active role in the Republican National Convention
Joy Lee is a graduate of the Leadership Institute.  She served as an attorney at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention. 

Joy was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, CA and Baltimore County, MD.  Joy is a proud graduate of University of Maryland and Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Read her interview about her experiences at the Leadership Institute and the Republican National Convention.

      1.  How did being a Leadership Institute (LI) graduate prepare you to work for the Legal Division at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention (“COA”)?

   I attended the Leadership Institute’s Women’s Leadership Training in March 2014 in Arlington, Virginia with dozens of other women from around the country.  Though this training did not prepare me for the legal and substantive parts of my role today, it provided me with a general framework as I started my career.  Politics and the field of law are often considered to be male-dominated fields, so it’s especially important for young women to learn how to present themselves as leaders wherever their careers take them.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by and learn from some of the best legal, political, and logistics operatives in our party—many of whom are women. 

       2.  How many months in advance does the COA begin to plan the Convention?

   I moved to Cleveland from Washington, DC for this position in late February/early March 2016, just under five months before the start of the Convention.  At that point, the COA was already staffed to approximately fifty people, most of whom moved to Cleveland from various parts of the country.

The first staff member of the COA was hired more than a year in advance of the Convention.  At its peak, the COA had approximately 120 staffers, dozens of independent contractors and interns, and hundreds of volunteers.

       3.  Why was Cleveland chosen as the location for the 2016 Republican National Convention for the third time in history?

   The last time the Republican National Convention came to Cleveland was June 1936.  Since then, the city of Cleveland has had its share of losses—economical and sports-related—but in recent years, Cleveland has experienced a resurgence.  To showcase that on a national and even international level, the city of Cleveland submitted a bid to host not only the Republican National Convention but also the Democratic National Convention for three cycles in a row. 

When I asked a member of the Site Selection Committee why they chose Cleveland, he answered, “We felt special there.”  Now that I’ve been in Cleveland for a few months, I can relate to that sentiment.  The city of Cleveland has welcomed us with open arms, and it’s evident how much this Convention means to the people of Cleveland.  Especially in light of its recent NBA Championship—its first sports championship since 1964 and effectively earning its reputation as being a cursed sports city until now—there is a distinct buzz around town. 

It’s exciting to be a part of history, not just for the party, but also for the city of Cleveland.